It was per week of robotaxi mayhem in San Francisco for the Cruise driverless automobile firm — by turns weird, comedian and alarming.
Consequently, the California Division of Motor Autos mentioned Friday it’s investigating “latest regarding incidents” involving Cruise automobiles whereas tapping the brakes on the corporate’s formidable enlargement plans.
The DMV didn’t say which incidents it’s probing, however over a seven-day interval the occasions included:
— The weird, when a gaggle of Cruise robotaxis drove collectively into the town’s North Seaside district on the night time of Aug. 11, froze in place, sat for quarter-hour blocking an intersection, then drove on. Cruise blamed cellphone service.
— The comedian, when a Cruise robotaxi ignored building indicators on Tuesday and headed right into a stretch of cement. Caught within the moist muck, it was eliminated later by employees dispatched by Cruise.
— The alarming, when a Cruise robotaxi entered an intersection on a inexperienced mild at the same time as a fast-moving hearth truck, lights flashing and siren blaring, approached. The truck struck the automobile, occupied by one passenger, who was transported to a hospital. Cruise mentioned the passenger sustained “what we consider are non-severe accidents.”
The day after the damage crash, the DMV introduced its investigation and mentioned Cruise agreed to halve the scale of its fleet, to 50 robotaxis throughout the day and 150 at night time. In a ready assertion, Cruise mentioned it appears to be like ahead to working with the DMV and posted its model of occasions on-line.
The corporate plans to populate the town with 1000’s of robotaxis. One other firm, Waymo, has comparable plans. Cruise is owned by Common Motors, Waymo by Alphabet, guardian firm of Google.
The DMV didn’t say how lengthy its investigation would possibly take. One other DMV investigation, into whether or not Tesla falsely advertises its driver-assist know-how as “Full Self-Driving,” has been ongoing for 2 years and three months.
The newest robotaxi incidents occurred on the heels of a controversial California Public Utilities Fee vote Aug. 10 to approve huge enlargement of robotaxis in San Francisco.
State legislators are changing into fed up with the state of driverless automobile regulation in California. A invoice is shifting by way of the Legislature that will require human security drivers in driverless vehicles for a minimum of the following 5 years. State Sen. Lena Gonzalez has expressed concern about the best way the DMV regulates Tesla security.
DMV Director Steve Gordon, a former Silicon Valley government, was appointed to the submit by Gov. Gavin Newsom.
Meantime, metropolis officers in San Francisco, Los Angeles and Santa Monica and elsewhere are pissed off at how little management they’ve over robotaxi deployment of their cities.
The CPUC voted 3-1 to approve robotaxi enlargement. The no vote was forged by Genevieve Shiroma, who mentioned she was not in opposition to robotaxis however that it made sense to resolve issues of safety akin to interference with emergency automobiles earlier than enlargement is authorized.
Voting in favor of enlargement was John Reynolds, whose earlier job was that of prime lawyer at Cruise.
All 5 members of the CPUC had been appointed by Newsom. Newsom’s workplace declined to remark.